Christ teaching in several parables describes the binary categorization of people as righteous or wicked based on God judgment of their living. The righteous show themselves fit for God’s purpose and typically fulfill their individual responsibility as he assigns to them. In contrast, the wicked show themselves unfit for God’s purpose and typically decline their individual responsibility. Through the Parable of the Weeds, we learn that God creates every person righteous and gives each a lifetime to show themselves righteous or wicked. He allows them to coexist until final judgment, when he will separate the wicked into hell and call the righteous to his kingdom.
This study begins a miniseries to understand Christ teaching regarding the binary categorization of people as righteous or wicked based on God judgment of their living. The righteous are people that show themselves fit for God’s purpose based on how he sees them. Such people typically perform their individual responsibility as God assigns to them. For example, the righteous typically complete responsibility in a call to compassion.
The other category is the wicked and consists of people that show themselves unfit for God’s purpose based on how he sees them. Such people typically decline their individual responsibility as God assigns to them. For example, the wicked typically decline responsibility in a call to compassion.
The miniseries begins with the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24–30 and 36–43), where we learn that God creates every person righteous. Also, he gives every person a lifetime to show themselves righteous or wicked. There is no neutral choice. There is no neutral behavior. Whoever is not righteous is wicked. Also, the parable explains that the righteous and wicked coexist until final judgment, when God will separate the wicked from the righteous, throw the wicked to eternal burning in hell, and call the righteous into his kingdom in heaven.
We discuss the Parable of the Weeds in this study to end our 2022 program year. The bible study program will resume in February 2023 with focus on Christ message regarding God categorization of people as righteous or wicked and how the categorization affects our understanding of God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships.
Christ teaching in the Parable of the Talents provides understanding that God distributes portions of his resources as grants of human capabilities to every person; which he expects all to deploy toward their individual responsibility to themselves, others, and the environment. He expects every person to do this the same way he would, if he were to manage human responsibilities and capabilities directly in human form. Further, he expects every person to expand and diversify their human capabilities by using them, rewards those that do, and punishes those that stagnate theirs by declining opportunities to use them.
We discuss Christ teaching in the Parable of the Talents to understand that God distributes portions of his resources among people as grants of human capabilities: to empower every person to perform their individual responsibility to themselves, others, and the environment. He expects every person to deploy the resources he grants to them toward their individual responsibility, the same way he would if he managed human responsibilities and capabilities directly in human form. Also, he expects every person to expand and diversify their capabilities by using them.
Further, Christ explains through the parable that God recognizes two human categories based on what a person does with the capabilities he granted to them. One category is the righteous. These are people that use their capabilities and expand and diversify them as a result. The other category is the wicked, which are people that stagnate their capabilities by refusing to use them. God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked.
This understanding of the Parable of the Talents is based on Matthew 25:14–30 and enriched by our previous discussion of Living in the Image of God.
Christ uses parables to describe separation of people into two categories based on living in the image of God: the righteous and the wicked.
The righteous are people that live in the image of God, whereby each person is a channel for God’s compassion and conveyor of his image. As a channel for God’s compassion (i.e., God’s provider assistant), a person recognizes needs placed in their path, commits to providing for the need, and perseveres until they succeed: much like the Samaritan in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Being a conveyor of God’s image means providing reasonable opportunity for people to feel the hand of God through your interactions with them. In contrast, the category of the wicked consists of people that decline God’s call to compassion by denying services placed in their path: much like the chief priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Christ describes the categorization through the parables of the weeds [Matthew 13:24–29 and 37–43], the net [Matthew 13:47–50] and the sheep and the goats [Matthew 25:31–46].
ETERNAL LIFE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS He explained through the parables that the righteous will inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. The wicked, in contrast, will be condemned to eternal punishment in a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Also, he explained through the parable of the weeds that God offers every person a persistent opportunity to repent from a life of wickedness to a life of righteousness. The opportunity persists until death or final judgment, whichever comes first [Matthew 13:40]. We examine the three parables in this study and use information contained in them and other related teachings of Christ to discuss the meaning of righteousness.